Secular spirituality is the commitment to a spiritual philosophy without a commitment to a religion. Secular spirituality stresses the inner peace and personal growth of a person rather than a connection or bond with the divine or a formal relationship with a religion.
Spiritual intelligence is the capability to gain access to higher values, meanings, enduring purposes, and unconscious facets of oneself, and to use these insights to live a more creative, fulfilled, and richer life.
Intelligence, it turns out, can be spiritual and secular at the same time.
SQ: Spiritual Quotient, or Spiritual Intelligence
The term spiritual intelligence was coined, and introduced, in the 1997 book ReWiring the Corporate Brain by Danah Zohar, an author and speaker on philosophy, physics, complexity and management. Spiritual intelligence is also referred to as spiritual quotient, or SQ.
Most people are familiar with IQ, and many are familiar with EQ. Intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a total score resulting from a number of standardized tests developed to evaluate human intelligence. Emotional quotient, or EQ, is the ability of a person to apply emotional information to guide behavior and thinking, identify and understand their own emotions as well as those of others, manage their emotions to adjust to changing environments, and distinguish between different feelings. Emotional quotient is also referred to as emotional intelligence, or EI.
Spiritual intelligence, or spiritual quotient (SQ) is the capability for establishing vision, meaning, and value. SQ enables a person to dream and endeavor. Spiritual intelligence is the basis, or foundation, for the things a person believes in, and the role values, principles, and beliefs play in the actions and behaviors a person takes. The higher the SQ, the more we are genuinely ourselves, conscious and attentive of our being, and not hiding behind instinctive, knee-jerk emotions or conditioned belief systems.
IQ helps a person work with numbers, formulas and objects, EQ helps a person interact with other people, and SQ helps a person manage and sustain inner balance.
IQ is associated with the left brain and EQ is associated with the right brain. SQ isn’t so easily categorized — it’s thought of as a third way of human intelligence that includes elements of the immeasurable or intangible aspects of living as a human being. Richard Griffiths, formerly with the Australian Psychological Society, defined spiritual intelligence as follows: “SQ equals IQ and EQ practiced with presence.”
Griffiths goes on to define presence as: “the movement of awareness from ego to soul.” Coming from ego, a person tends to focus mostly on limitations, short term visions, fears, and feelings of insignificance (which can sometimes manifest in a mask of arrogance, cockiness, or conceit). Coming from a sense of soul instead means a person’s view is much more substantial and vast. We are each actually a part of a great web of life, connections, patterns, and relationships, all of which are important and essential in their effect and influence on the world that we all live in.
Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) Traits and Principles
Spiritual intelligence doesn’t rely on religious beliefs — its concept of spirituality is distinct from religiosity. Spiritual intelligence is more associated with, and focused on, balance, inner peace, harmony, and an understanding of the world. Spiritual intelligence does not have anything to do with believing in things such as angels or the power of crystals. Instead, it is more concerned with coming to an understanding that there is much more to life than material objects and egotistic demands. A person who has high spiritual intelligence has a tendency to think profoundly, understand how all things are interconnected, are have empathy and compassion towards other people, animals, and nature itself.
Unlike IQ, there are no universally accepted methods of measuring SQ. There are, however, generally agreed upon principles and criteria that define SQ. Danah Zohar, mentioned earlier as the woman who introduced the concept of spiritual intelligence, has outlined a dozen principles of spiritual intelligence.
- Self-awareness: Knowing what you value and believe in, and what deeply motivates you.
- Spontaneity: Living in, and being responsive to, the moment.
- Being vision-led and value-led: Behaving according to deeply held beliefs and principles.
- Holism: Having a sense of belonging from seeing larger connections, relationships, and patterns.
- Compassion: Having the quality of profound empathy.
- Celebrating diversity: Valuing others for their differences.
- Field independence: Having one’s own convictions — going against the crowd.
- Humility: Understanding one’s true place in the world.
- Tendency to ask fundamental questions: A need to understand things and get to the bottom of them.
- Ability to reframe: Being able to see the bigger picture or wider context.
- Positive use of adversity: Learning and growing from struggles, challenges, and mistakes.
- Sense of vocation: Feeling called upon to serve, to give something back.
The above spiritual principles help to measure spiritual intelligence. The more of these principles a person is guided by, the higher that person’s spiritual development. They can also direct spiritual growth — a person can keep these principles in mind and consciously strive to abide by them.
Benefits of Developing Greater Spiritual Intelligence
We know from experience that a high SQ improves a person’s life — we become steadily more conscious of our triggers and less reactive to them, saving considerable amounts of energy, time, and commotion. That’s backed up by research published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications.
The Akashic Records teach us that the more we establish understanding of the interconnectedness of all life, the more we enhance our capability to become a wise and productive agent of positive change. As it becomes apparent to both ourselves and others that we aren’t simply self-centered, our influence and ability to have an effect on reality grows significantly. This makes for exceptional team members and leaders (and is why, in fact, SQ teaching and training has become popular in the workplace).
Do you lead from your ego or from your spirit, or higher self? When you assume a role as a leader, is your leadership based on conflict, fear, and gaining an advantage, or is it based on gratitude, understanding, and setting an example? Do you battle with other people to acquire control, or do you live from your greatest ideals, beliefs and vision? Which is the most effective and beneficial way to lead?
Problem solving, learning, and creativity are all significantly restrained and repressed when one is experiencing chaos and uncertainty. Learning techniques that allow you to rapidly shift into a rational, more thoughtful, and calmer space can greatly increase our potential to find solutions and release your creativity. A Journal of Education & Social Policy published study demonstrated that higher SQ does in fact lead to increased learning and creativity.
The Global Peace Index 2019, published by the an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank Institute for Economics and Peace, reveals that “peace is dynamically associated with economic development.” The report makes it simple to grasp how peace drives economic growth on both a national and global level. What isn’t as intuitive, but is nonetheless equally true, is that the same applies at the much smaller individual and group levels. Which means that developing and building our spiritual intelligence, or SQ, has a direct influence on our capability to build wealth and increase our bottom line.
Developing Your Spiritual Intelligence
In short, developing spiritual intelligence means transitioning from ego-driven behaviors to more spiritual behaviors. Once we rise above the overly critical and self-centered voice of the ego, we are able to hear the voice of our higher self, and then be guided by this more open and positive voice.
On a grand scale this helps the world by cultivating understanding, acceptance, and peace. On a personal level it helps our relationships and our own sense of well-being and inner peace. When we become aware that many stresses in life are all about competition and ego, we can more easily get past those stresses. Doing that frees us to be accepting of ourselves, others, and the imperfections of life, rather than being driven by the continuous need to have more, and be more.
Fundamentals of Improving Spiritual Intelligence
Some of the fundamentals of how a person can increase their spiritual intelligence include:
- Consider others before self
- Assess situations with the values of generosity, patience, kindness and tolerance in mind
- Acknowledge the interconnected aspect of all life and nature
- Focus on the good and in every person and every experience
- Practice creativity in any of its forms, such as writing, art, dance or music
- Develop calming, spiritual rituals such as meditation or nature walks
- Connect with other people in real time instead of relying on the impersonal communication of social media
- Take an online course on enhancing SQ
Spiritual Intelligence Training
An in-depth online course in spiritual intelligence focuses on not just SQ, but the combination of all three dimensions of intelligence: IQ, EQ and SQ. Spiritual intelligence is correlated with whole brain activation, which is why the spiritual intelligence courses from 3Q Institute introduce the term “3Q“. IQ and EQ in association with SQ is 3Q, and 3Q trains the whole brain. The previously mentioned psychologist and corporate trainer Richard Griffiths is the founder of the 3Q Institute.
The Essential Experience is a nine week online course consisting of weekly videos with live mentoring sessions every two weeks. As the course name suggests, the essentials of activating your spiritual intelligence using secular science-based principles are taught.
The MindMaster Experience is a much more advanced online course. This is a three month course that requires you to perform 10 minute practice sessions each day with the included brain-monitoring headband. Additionally, there are several short instructional videos on the 3Q Method of developing spiritual intelligence. This is a complete neuroscience-based toolkit with real-time neurofeedback for tracking your own brain development.
Once you stimulate a higher dimension of intelligence, you access the capabilities and qualities of your higher self. The 3Q Institute online trainings help you shift from ego to soul, thereby activating your spiritual intelligence. The resulting release of your intuition and creativity brings about a much deeper sense of purpose and meaning, transforming your personality, and life, in positive ways.